All Black legend Buck Shelford backs online rugby club

By Staff reporters -
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Many have tried but a couple of Whangarei rugby fans have done it - they've brought back Buck!

Tristan Tuckey and Tony Molloy are behind the International Rugby Club - an online club that connects the global rugby community.

They want rugby fans around the world to join the IRC, which will then connect fans with rugby tours and associated events.

The IRC is a bona fide club and an associate member of the Northland Rugby Union.
The New Zealand Rugby Union is also helping to connect the IRC with event opportunities.

Tuckey and Molloy want Lions fans heading for New Zealand in June and July to join the IRC, so they can then guide fans towards events via the IRC's Rugby Safari NZ app.

The pair also scored a coup by securing All Black Legend Buck Shelford as a founding IRC member, along with former All Blacks including Bruce Robertson, Northlander Ian Jones, Stu Wilson and Ian Kirkpatrick.

Shelford is also fronting an IRC "Bring Back Billeting" campaign encouraging local rugby clubs and fans to host Lions supporters.

Shelford said some of his greatest memories were created staying with host families on rugby trips.

"They welcomed us into their homes, fed us and we quite often became friends," he said. "It was just good old Kiwi hospitality, or manaakitanga."

Bring Back Billeting will allow rugby club members, and their affiliates, to register their available beds during the tour, and the IRC will match them with travelling rugby fans who have requested beds to put their heads on.

Nominated rugby clubs will be the happy beneficiaries of the agreed accommodation donation.

But it was not just about the fundraising, said Molloy.

"While fundraising for local rugby clubs is core to everything we do, we also want to bring together like-minded, aka rugby mad people, and create some memorable experiences and hopefully long-lasting mateships" he said.

Tuckey said getting Shelford on board happened in the formative days of the IRC.

"Buck was one of the founding members," Tuckey said.

A big part of the IRC's plan is to direct IRC members towards local rugby clubs, who can then organise events to host visiting fans.

"Buck said he'd support anything that gives back to club rugby and it is great to see him have a bit of fun and involved."

The IRC grew from Tuckey's involvement with Kamo Rugby Club in helping organise golden oldies games.

"Being involved in a rugby club up here and running golden oldies tournaments, you could see that everyone loved being back in the social side [of things] but not necessarily the playing side," Tuckey said.

"We always joked that it would be more fun if we didn't have to play, so we organised the IRC and it is going from strength to strength."

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